HSE Corner

Posted on 17 January 2009

IADC RigPass acknowledged by SafeGulf

By John Auth, Diamond Offshore

In 2001, HSE personnel from BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Shell gathered to develop minimum safety awareness training requirements for all employees working offshore. This includes operator, contractor and third-party personnel. The result was the formation of the Contractor Operator Steering Team (COST). The initial effort resulted in a requirement for a training program that, while effective, did not recognize training efforts already in place in the industry, such as IADC’s RigPass. IADC sought and gained a position on COST to better clarify the extent to which RigPass meets or exceeds the minimum requirements to the rest of the team.

The COST group eventually became SafeGulf and is now an integral part of the core HSE values of these four major operators, as well as a number of independents. There have been a number of obstacles to overcome, not the least of which were Katrina and Rita appearing in the middle of the kick-off date for SafeGulf implementation. Along the way, the operators and the seven other industry members of the SafeGulf Advisory Group have developed a healthy respect for each others’ HSE efforts.

The SafeGulf curriculum is only one avenue to satisfy the requirement for “training before access” provision of these operators. RigPass is one of three other industry training regimes that will satisfy this provision.
RigPass was introduced in 1994 so that the industry would have a standard “awareness” level of safety training and an employee could present any new employers with a card that certified that he had completed this training. As employees moved between companies prior to RigPass, many times they would have to attend “basic” safety training prior to reporting for work. RigPass provided a means for both the employee and employer to save time and resources in the initial orientation process. It also certified a minimum level of safety awareness that could be depended upon from company to company.

RigPass provides the outline structure for a course. It stipulates each area of instruction but then asks the teaching organization to provide its methods for fulfilling all of these areas. The application for certification as a RigPass provider can be found on the IADC website at www.iadc.org. Each section of the application asks how you will deliver the information required and how you will verify that the student has received and understands the information.

The program was initially designed for member companies to use as a template to provide their own RigPass training. While a substantial number of drilling contractors still provide their own course, a number of commercial schools have applied for certification as RigPass providers and have been approved. That list can also be found online.

For organizations that want their RigPass cards to be SafeGulf-compliant, there are additional requirements. The employee’s picture and basic information must be submitted through an “accrediting organization” to the SafeGulf database. Since IADC is such an organization, the data submitted along with the correct barcode format on the card will be submitted automatically to the SafeGulf database. IADC’s accreditation and certification department will be glad to help you through this process.

When an employee arrives at the entry portal (heliport, dock, etc) where SafeGulf is required for access, his RigPass card will be scanned through the same equipment that is used for SafeGulf cards. At that point there will be a three image comparison – the face on the screen, the face on your ID (license, etc) and the face between your shoulders. If they all match, you are good to go. You have been identified and certified to have received the proper basic safety training to proceed offshore.

If you have an IADC RigPass card that has been submitted as SafeGulf-compliant through IADC, this card should be sufficient for access to offshore at all portals maintained by operators who are in the program. SafeGulf-compliant RigPass cards have a barcode that has been submitted to the SafeGulf Identity Database through IADC. As with any program, you may run into the odd dispatcher or security personnel at a portal that hasn’t gotten the “word” and may not accept your card. Please notify IADC immediately if you encounter this problem.

John Auth has been the IADC liaison on the SafeGulf Advisory Group since the association’s participation in that group. He is Diamond Offshore’s manager – HSE industry relations.

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